Weekend Adventures of Livin the Sober Life

Weekend Adventures of Livin the Sober Life

Nearly a year ago (September 22nd, 2018), I hit a telephone pole 1 block from where I live. This was the result of me driving under the influence of alcohol. This drunken irresponsible decision also resulted in me getting a DWI that night. I’m not going to get into all of the details, as I’ve written about this in a previous blog.

After hitting the pole and getting a DWI, one might think that was enough for me to quit drinking. On the contrary, I had no intention of quitting at that point, I still wanted to have fun, but I did commit to never getting behind the wheel of a vehicle under the influence again. I got lucky once with hitting a pole and not harming anyone else, I wasn’t about to press my luck again.

On May 17th, 2019, I made a promise to not drink for 2 months, just to see if I noticed a change in my life sans alcohol.

On June 13th, 2019, I got incredibly wasted. It started with just having one glass of wine. But as history has proven time and time again, just one is never just one. I had a glass of wine, a really tall beer (maybe 2), somewhere along the way I switched to vodka crans (not sure how many). I think there was another beer or few in there along the way too.

Not even one month in to a two month promise and I broke it already. But wait, there’s more…

At the end of the drunken June 13th, I got in my vehicle and drove about 7 blocks home. Not only did I break my 2 month promise in less than 1 month, I broke my lifetime promise of never drinking and driving again in less than 1 year.

When I woke up the morning of June 14th, there was no question in my mind, I was done drinking. Not for two months, not for any set period of time, but for good. I was done!

August 14th, was my 2 month sobriety anniversary! While some days are a bit more of a struggle than others, I am doing well navigating my way through sobriety. The words “I don’t drink” have become my favorite three words to string together. I find great strength in those three little words. I’ve also learned that I have more fun being sober than I did when I was drinking!

This weekend is an example of what my life without alcohol is like now.

Friday 8/16/2019

Orono Lake in Elk RIver

Friday afternoon when I got off work, I went out to my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Elk River to spend time catching up and to hang out by the lake. My uncle, who is one of the kindest men I’ve ever meet, took us out on the pontoon to tour the lake. It is really a beautiful lake with so many friendly residents. Once we returned from our pontoon tour, my aunt jumped on her SUP/kayak and I jumped in another kayak that they have and we went for a quick row along the shore. It was a wonderful afternoon of spending time with family, taking in nature, and being alcohol free!

Saturday 8/17/2019

My virgin strawberry daiquiri

To start the afternoon off, my dear friend Leksy and I had lunch at Lord Fletcher’s on Lake Minnetonka. Leksy ordered a drink, but asked if I was ok with it first, and I ordered a virgin daiquiri. I’ve learned that I have less of an urge to drink, in situations I would’ve normally drank, if I have a virgin cocktail of some sort. It actually works quite well for me.

After lunch we went to a nearby park that rents SUPs (Stand-up Paddle-boards) , but they didn’t have any available, so we went back to Excelsior (where I live) to Tommy’s Tonka Trolly and rented 2 SUPs. It had been probably 6+ years since I had been on an SUP, and that was the one and only time I had been on one until yesterday. Yesterday was Leksy’s first time ever being on one.

The beautiful Lake Minnetonka
Me successfully standing up and paddling
Leks, Successfully standing up and paddling!

We had a lot of fun! I only fell off once. Leksy got a hell of a kick out of it! I think it might have been the highlight of her day. I’m just happy she didn’t have her phone in hand to capture it.

Afterwards, we went for ice cream, then to another nearby lake (Lake Ann) and sat there for a bit.

I have a deep love and appreciation for water. I forgot how much I truly love the serenity of it. It energizes me while also bringing me great peace and calmness. Connecting with Earth/Mother Nature is such an elevating experience. I love it!

I had a wonderful weekend filled with fun and laughter, and all without alcohol. This is me, livin the sober life, and thoroughly enjoying it!

A Hard Lesson Learned

A Hard Lesson Learned

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything. It’s been a long time since I’ve had anything to say.

I’ve thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to share this story. I’ve contemplated on whether or not it’s just too personal (sort of funny given all of the other stories I’ve shared). I’ve wondered if it’s too soon. It’s still very fresh for me, my emotions around this are still very raw. The amount of shame I feel is overwhelming. After much consideration I’ve decided that it’s for these reasons that I should share this. So here it is…

I’ve come to the realization, after many years of fighting it, denying it, arguing about it, and so forth, that I have an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). I have battled with it for many years without even having much of an awareness of it, that is until the last couple of years.

About 2 years ago I quit drinking for about a year. It wasn’t that I drank all of the time, it wasn’t daily, it wasn’t even necessarily weekly, but when I drank…I drank…and I drove. I had endless conversations with many people about how dangerous it was for me to drive in that condition. I completely agreed. I was being very reckless, stupid, and inconsiderate; not only was I risking my own safety and life, but what was more, I was risking the safety and lives of innocent people. I had some very serious boundary issues around limiting how much I drank in a single event. So I quit. When I quit, I kept open the possibility of introducing alcohol back in my life once I felt I had control of my ability to consume responsibly.

After about a year, I felt I had it under control enough to set and hold boundaries around how much I drank in a single event. I felt I could have just one or two and stop. It had been a year after-all, I had this under control, right?

At first I did, but as time went on the same old behaviors came back. It was like riding a bike, as they say. Old habits die hard. I knew I had let myself go to far. I just kept telling myself that I will do better. I will reel it back in, but I didn’t. I would go for a few and end up drinking far more and for longer than I had intended. I still could not hold this boundary.

This time the lesson hit me hard…

 

 

…or should I say, I hit it hard?

 

This happened Saturday evening. I had been drinking that afternoon. It happened about a block away from home. I looked away for a moment, before I knew what was happening I hit the curb and the pole was right there. There was no way I could’ve avoided it. Well, unless I had been a responsible adult and not driving under the influence to begin with.

The police were called. I was cuffed, arrested, brought in to the station, and luckily released. I received my first and last DWI that evening. And as humiliating and shaming as it was, I absolutely 100% deserved every second of it, right down to smashing up my brand new vehicle that I have only made 2 payments on. I deserve to lose full privileges of my license for 90 days (I can get a limited license as of Oct 15th so I can get to/from work, court, probation meetings, as well as support groups/meetings). I deserve the fees and fines that come with a DWI. I deserve all of it! I did this to myself. Only I could’ve prevented this all from happening.

Someone very dear to me said, “this might be the best case scenario for what seemed inevitable”. I can’t recall words that have ever been spoken to me in my lifetime that are more true than those words…

…I hit a telephone pole not a person, no one was physically injured, including myself. The only damage done was to my vehicle and the pole. Sooner or later something like this was bound to happen. If I was stupid enough to drink and drive, then this was inevitable.

I am very aware of how lucky I am that this was all that happened. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if my irresponsible decision, to get behind the wheel of a vehicle under the influence, had hurt someone. I am very aware of how lucky I am that I wasn’t hurt, I hit a fucking telephone pole!

I can live with, deal with, get through, and deserve all of what comes my way as a result of my actions and poor decisions. That’s on me.

I’m so incredibly grateful that I didn’t hurt anyone. I’m grateful that I didn’t get hurt. I’m even grateful that this is how it happened, given that it was likely inevitable. This is my rock bottom. This is my wake-up call. This is my slap in the face. This is my second chance.

I will never drink and drive again. This is a promise I am making to the innocent people that share the roads with me, to the people who love and care about me, and to myself. If I can’t drink responsibly, and keeping that promise means I never drink again, then so be it, I never drink again. The consequences of drunken decisions aren’t worth it, not to me, not anymore.

For anyone out there who doesn’t think this will happen to them…I didn’t think it would happen to me either. I smashed up my vehicle, got a DWI, lose the freedom to come and go as I please for 90 days, I have to take a DWI knowledge exam, I have to pay out a shit ton of money, I have to go to court, will get fined a shit ton more money, I will likely get probation, I will possibly even be court ordered to attend meetings or a class of some sort on alcohol abuse…even with all of this I consider myself lucky.

Take my advice, don’t risk it, it’s not worth it. There are so many options out there other than having to drive under the influence. Call Uber, Lyft, a relative, a friend. Hell, walk home…just don’t get behind the wheel. I promise, this can happen to you. If you’re like me, it’s inevitable, just a matter of time and you may not be as lucky as I was. You are the only one who can prevent it from happening. Don’t be like me; don’t push your luck because that shit always runs out.

I hope by sharing my story that maybe, just maybe someone will read it and decide not to get behind the wheel under the influence. Maybe together we save a life or two or more. If my story can stop even just one person from driving under the influence then putting my shame and humility out there for all the world to see, isn’t for nothing.

*Side note: If anyone who reading this has any judgement towards me, I completely get it and I don’t blame you. But know this, whatever judgements and/or negative opinions you may have of me about this, I promise you the ones I hold for myself are far worse.

  • Dani